“We were walking back home and all of a sudden, we ran into two Hungarian soldiers. So I picked up a big rod from the ground and told them in Hungarian to drop their weapons.” Interviewer: “You poked into him from behind with the rod?” “No, I came to them from the front, I simply told them to surrender and showed them the rod. They were shaken and afraid, so they dropped their weapons and surrendered. They were relatively young lads, well, at least one of them was young. We then took their guns and took them into a cabin. You can’t imagine how we were rebuked for that. And they were just happy that they had a shelter where they could hide. There was some something like a supervisor who decided that we’d release them. We kept their guns and let the soldiers go.”
Editor (Czechoslovak broadcast): “Dear friends, we have a recording of a telephone conversation that took place a while ago.” Joseph Hasinec: “Dear comrade editor, I have a very special wish, I don’t know whether you accept personal messages but I’d like to have one broadcasted.” Editor: “Yes, we do. What is it?” Hasinec: “Well, our family was scattered around the world as a consequence of World War II. I joined the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps and therefore I got into Czechoslovakia and became a Czechoslovak citizen. In the present time I’m an officer of the Czechoslovak People’s Army. My brothers stayed in the Soviet Union and under the current circumstances, I’m afraid that we might have to fight each other, brother against brother. One of my brothers is doing his basic military service in Leningrad and the other is certainly – with respect to the current situation – exercising with the Soviet army.” Editor: “So if I understand you correctly, you want to leave them a message through our broadcasting, am I right?” Hasinec: “Yes, my dear brothers, I just want to tell you that if you’re here, go home and visit me as my two sisters and my brother in law did less then a month ago. Let’s not allow the situation to happen, when we would have to face each other with weapons in our hands. There is no reason for that. If by chance you’re in this country, you can see for yourselves that there is order in this country and that you are not welcomed with your guns and tanks by the people of this country, although you’re my brothers. Please, if you’re listening to me now, or if someone else who knows you is listening, please let them know.” Editor: “All right, and if you could tell us the names so that we know for whom the message is intended?” Hasinec: “I’m Major Hasinec from the garrison in Bohosudov. My younger brother’s name is Ivan Hasinec and the older one is Míša, Michael Hasinec.” Editor: “And don’t you want to make the appeal in Russian?” There follows other pieces of news from that day, the Russian recording is not available (the tape with the recording of this telephone conversation was sent to Mr. Hasinec in 1978 by an anonymous from Brno – note by the athor).
“I met them by chance on that railway station. They were both from Ruská Mokrá and both went to school with me. They were in Soviet uniforms and they whispered in my ear if I could get them to the Czechoslovak army. I somehow managed to arrange that. But I had to hide them because the Soviets were searching for them. There was a pigsty nearby the barracks so I brought some fresh hay and they stayed there. There was no light but they told me that they would hold out there. But eventually the Soviets found them and they were punished. They were sent to the frontlines. They were also searching for the person who helped them but they never found out about me.” Interviewer: “Do you remember the girls’ names?” “Of course, one was Lazurka, Anne Lazurová and the second was Maria Kraljčuk. We reunited after the war.” Interviewer: “So they survived, they were lucky?” “Yes, they survived the frontline fighting.”
“When we were driving in the convoy, it sometimes happened that the car in front of us disappeared – it sunk into the earth. We were under constant threat from air raids. So it wasn’t certain at all that one would come back from a mission. And that’s how it was all the way to Mikuláš.”
“The Hungarian police was conducting house searches – they were looking for something. They were using their bayonets, lifting up carpets, etc. My grandmother was quick to react and put me and my sister into our bed, pouring some water on us so that we looked very sick, covered in sweat, and she told us to stay in bed. After the search was over and they left she lifted the bed sheet and there was a Czechoslovak and a Ukrainian flag underneath it. We had no idea that it was hidden there. It would have been a tremendous offense if they had found it.”
“We were given vodka once a week, they were carrying it in these aluminum kegs. Everything was from aluminum – the keg, the cup, the field bottle and the dipper. We were given half a liter per week. The vodka meant nothing to me, I preferred cigarettes – I smoked a lot back then. The others already knew so they would exchange their cigarettes for my vodka. However, I caught up with drinking in 1945. Half a liter of vodka was no problem for me at that time.”
I wonder to whom we pass the baton to preserve not only the identity of the Czechoslovak Legionaries, but also the pride and patriotism of the Czech and Slovak nation
Joseph Hasinec was born on April 14, 1927, in the village of Ruská Mokrá in Carpathian Ruthenia. Due to his family’s grave economic situation he had to work in the forest, helping his father from early childhood on. He spent a considerable portion of his childhood with his uncle Jan Spaský, who owned a mill in the town of Usť Čorná. The entire area was occupied in 1939 by the Hungarian army. During the war, Mr. Hasinec worked in the mill and in his uncle’s state-of-the art carpentry workshop. Soon after the liberation of the area, Joseph Hasinec learned about the existence of the First Czechoslovak army corps. He was determined to join its ranks even though he was very young at the time. He succeeded, and after his training he was assigned to be a guard in the army supply and logistics division. After the war, he first finished compulsory military service and then he left the army. After he went through a few occupations he returned to the army in 1949. Later, in 1968 Joseph had the rank of a major and was the deputy of the commander of the sappers, soldiers that were responsible for tasks such as building and repairing roads and bridges. After the Warsaw pact armies occupied Czechoslovakia, Mr. Hasinec had a public speech that was broadcasted to the nation. In his speech he condemned the occupation and appealed directly to his brothers who served in the Soviet army at the time. He later refused to revoke his statements and therefore had to leave the army in 1971 and he was also dismissed from the Communist party. In 1991 he oversaw the withdrawal of Soviet troops stationed in Bohosudov. He died in September 2015.